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3D digital photo frame Nikon NF-300i

Many readers are still emailing me about Nikon's new NF-300i 3D photo frame. I guess my previous post was mainly targeted at the new Picturetown 3D service, even though the new 3D photo frame is part of this service and was mentioned in my post. Here are some more details on the Nikon NF-300i photo frame.

Nikon was able to achieve 3D images without the use of special glasses by arranging separate images for the left and right eyes. The actual implementation was done with the help of lenticular lenses ("designed so that when viewed from slightly different angles, different images are magnified"):

On the figure above, the right eye will see the blue portion of the image, while the left eye will see the red portion of the image. Because of the different angles the left and the right eyes view the separate images on the frame, the combined picture can be perceived as 3D.

On the LCD screen, the double images are achieved by having double-density pixels horizontally. This will allow 2D and 3D images to be displayed at the same resolution. When a 3D picture is displayed, half of the pixels will be displaying the image for the left eye (red), the other half will be displaying the image for the right eye (blue):

In order for this technology to work with your 2D pictures, you will have to upload them to Picturetown 3D where Nikon will use special algorithms to create the split images that will be pushed down wirelessly to your photo frame at home.

The NF-300i is based on Android OS system and it is more than just a photo frame - it has also a calendar, weather forecast, browser, etc. Nikon wouldn't let you buy one of those frames - you can only rent them as part of Picturetown 3D membership (only in Japan for now; price: ¥1,995/$24 a month).

This is Nikon's first attempt at 3D and they have chosen a rather unique approach to implement this technology. The second interesting fact is that Nikon has chosen the Android platform as a base for this product - it will be interesting to see if they will use Android in other future products (few months ago, Nikon was looking for cooperation with online and mobile device companies).

Detailed specs:

  • 7.2-inch digital frame
  • “Glass less” 3D screen
  • 4GB of internal memory
  • USB port
  • Ethernet and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi to load pictures from the Internet
  • NF300i is powered by Google's mobile operating system Android 2.1 and it can also display clock, calendar, Web browser and weather forecast
  • Weight: 600g
  • Aspect ratio: 4:3
  • 3D viewing distance: 1m
  • Brightness: 400 cd / m²
  • Resolution: SVGA (800 × 600)
  • Supported files: Image: JPEG, MPO, Video: MPEG4 (H.264), Audio: AAC, MP3 (MPEGAudioLayer-3)
  • External dimensions: 176 (W) × 156 (H) × 50 (D) mm
  • Accessories: Remote Control ML-100i, AC Adapter EH-100i

Here is a picture of the buttons and connection ports of the NF-300i:

Source

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  • Anonymous

    This is so cool. Maybe I will get one. WOW>>> I realized I am first.

    • Banned

      Cool? Maybe. headache inducing, for sure. This whole 3D displays gimmick will die soon. I have tested several 3D screens and this is really bad. Looks more blur than 3D to me (yes I did tweak the device). If this is any thing like those 3D screens hitting the market right now, be ready for some disappointment.

      They better focus on implementing existing worthwhile technologies like HD, Bluray, and OLED/SED screens before this gadget BS.

    • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

      design fail.

      • http://www.fioritofoto.com nfiorito

        agreed. something so futuristic should not look like a walmart-special photo frame.

  • kelly

    Sounded like a great Christmas gift until I reached the rent for 24$ a month. No thanks.

    • Banned

      And until you realized you were not in Japan.

  • anon99

    Maybe it’s good as a standalone product, but that’s it.
    IMHO it’s way too fancy and redundant.

  • WoutK89

    “Aspect ratio: 4:3″

    What happened to 3:2 or 16:9?

    • Jose

      Dear Sir, aspect ratio is not the important thing here, the importance is the technology used by nikon to introduce 3D picturews. imagine, such as admin said, a nikon camera with this technology, 16 or more Megapixel for see the pictures in a big screem, more than 40 inches but in 3D.
      Toshiba have a new 3D TV no lenses that may use similar technology.

      • WoutK89

        But it does mean, we have to use only the middle part of our picture, or have to live with black bars around our pictures. And I am not a sir for you, no need to be so formal.
        I know the bigger picture here is the technology used, but Nikon is an imaging company selling cameras with 3:2 ratio.

        • wha

          portraits.

        • BornOptimist

          “…but Nikon is an imaging company selling cameras with 3:2 ratio.” Well they sell more cameras with 4:3 aspect ratio than 3:2

          • WoutK89

            That is the answer I have been looking for, that makes sense. Coolpixes are in 4:3 ratio (I assume you mean that buy the big sellers ;-) ), I thought they too shot in 3:2.
            Thanks for the help.

            • WoutK89

              buy = by*

      • ZoetMB

        Sony has some 3D and panorama (and 3D panorama) capable point and shoot cameras. Rather than having to rent a frame (where did Nikon come up with that idea?), you simply play the image back on a 3D capable TV.

        I don’t really like the current 3D craze (I’ll like 3D when it’s a true holographic process), but I have to admit that the Sony 3D panoramas were pretty compelling.

    • Royalan

      4:5?

    • Bob Howland

      Why isn’t the aspect ratio 1:1? You seem to be assuming that all images are oriented landscape. They aren’t!!

      • st r

        The LCD panel is likely to be a modification of some standard model. So the aspect ratio is standard. I have never seen a 1:1 LCD display.

        On the other hand, in this particular case it is not possible to simply stand the frame on its side, as it would be with normal photo frames (both digital and old-style). So I agree with your observation.

        Regarding 4:5… who would shoot medium or large-format, then digitize it, then upload it to a digital photo frame?? There is an audience mismatch here.

  • http://www.sinclairvisual.com/cognitions ChriSin

    Imagine a Nikon Android 3D tablet!

    Or perhaps this is the first model of a live view 3d screen……..imagine filming with two D90s and a future version of this that does it realtime!

    We can keep dreaming

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      even better, imagine a Nikon Android camera :)

      • Texasjoe

        Am I the only one that is thinking, why wouldn’t they choose apple? Apple would’ve been great! A company that can provide a wireless company that chooses quality over quantity. Maybe even support for the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Google is just being a one-upping company and in the end apple is still pushing out better products. And a nikon android camera? Androids camera in it’s devices are more megapixels with less quality while apples iPhone is less megapixles with better quality. You know something about that Peter. Apple could have added a little style to that big boxie design. It reminds me of my old tube tv.

        • http://www.fotogoud.nl Martijn

          sorry, don’t agree with u there.
          apple shuts down every aspect of their products.
          it would be like, nikon could only work with nikkor lenses. and nikon flashes. and a D60 wouldnt work with the SB-700. because “according to nikon” that would be overkill.

          thats how apple works. And they choose less quantity, so they can sell more expensive.

          Android works as good, and probably even better and faster then the iphone. for less money.

          so cheers to android. photography is expensive enough as it is

          • Texasjoe

            As far as android working faster than the iPhone I agree because of the one-upping 1gb processor which is great. But it’s on a 4g network. Iphone in different countries work different because if the different networks. An iPhone from America can do more if it were taken to another countries network. AT&T puts a handicap on the iPhone. But hopefully that will change soon. And many apple products are backwards and forwards compatible. My 5 year old Mac pro (50 years in tech time) is using new apple accessories on it. Yes it’s more expensive but it just works better.

          • ZoetMB

            That’s total B.S.

            Just about anything with a USB or FireWire or network connection can work with any Apple computer. And generally, third party devices work a lot smoother on a Mac than they do with a Wintel machine, although Microsoft has improved this somewhat in recent OS versions.

            There are certain aspects to the Mac that is closed, but in doing so and in having tight integration between the OS and the hardware, you have a far superior user experience.

            But it’s a moot point because Apple would not permit any version of their OS on a non-Apple device. And Apple wouldn’t produce this device because the market for it is so small.

            • st r

              But it’s a moot point because Apple would not permit any version of their OS on a non-Apple device.

              I agree. You cannot choose Apple. Apple chooses you.

              And Apple wouldn’t produce this device because the market for it is so small.

              This depends on the marketing ability of whoever sells the device. Oh, wait… it’s Nikon… Ok, you are right.

        • BornOptimist

          Like Martijn, I disagree with you. No way I would have bought a camera if I needed Apples appoveal to buy any lens, software, or god heavens forbid – iTunes to control it. Actually it would have been enough to skip Nikon all together for me.
          You compare quality of Google product against Apples – well Google has only software as far as I know. The only hardware they have is the Nexus One, but that is a 100% HTC product.
          And I hope you don’t mean the “fewer pixels” in iPhone3 has good quality…

          • Mikils

            I am typing this on a Mac Bok Pro, but let’s face it, Android is the future. Apple eventually managed to destroy the myth of Microsoft unassailabilty and will make history textbook for this (and also for being always ahead of Microsoft), but the open source has overwhelming opportunities to exploit, especially on non PC-sized devices.

    • http://www.ze-pho-to.com Tomas

      “D90s”…? :)

      • WoutK89

        plural, nothing to see here.

  • http://www.ze-pho-to.com Tomas

    On the other hand it is good to know that Nikon
    is trying to expand their product line… :)

  • http://synthetic.se Daniel

    I sent a tip to this site about this photo frame over a week ago. What happened to that?
    Have you stopped reading your mail? I thought speed was crucial to a rumor site.

  • The invisible man

    Cool, I can’t wait taking Katy Perry’s picture with a 3D camera !
    :o

    • Banned

      Only if she’s naked and she wants to make love to you tho.

      • The invisible man

        Yep, my friends call me Elmo !
        :o

  • Ant

    This technology has been around for a while. Sharp and other LCD manufacturers have been shopping demos around the electronic components show circuit for at least three years. It’s been used in some games machines, but hasn’t really caught on. It’ll be interesting to see if the implementation is better than the examples I’ve seen in the past.

    • WoutK89

      I have seen it as well, 3 years ago on a game show here in Holland, and later at a car show. The one at the game show was very dark and too much distance dependent a few cm too far or too close and you didnt see anything at all. The one at the car show did exactly what I hoped it would be like, perfect 3D without the use of glasses, effective for multiple angles and distances.

    • st r

      This technology has been around for a while. Sharp and other LCD manufacturers have been shopping demos around the electronic components show circuit for at least three years.

      When I was a child I was fascinated by 3D, especially by those lenticular lens images. I had the same idea in the nineties (applied to CRT videos). I thought it would not work because of the limited viewing angle.

      I am not sure that this new attempt will prove me wrong, however.

  • Anonymous

    Now this is just disqusting. WTF is wrong with the Nikon execs? The do not have taste? I mean that’s the ugliest picture frame I have ever seen. And besides, who the hell would rent a picture frame?

    • Banned

      I think it’s mainly a tech demo without intent to actually find gogos to buy or rent it. Happens all the time.

  • mike

    Well, as has been mentioned the screen themselves aren’t that novel. Personally, I don’t think parallax-barrier technology is well suited to anything that just sits around on a table. It makes more sense to me on a handheld device like the 3DS (or a phone/tablet/whatever), where users naturally orient the screen optimally.

    Only renting out the frames, and forcing photos to be uploaded to their servers is certainly novel, though I’m not sure it appeals to me at all.

    • Anonymous

      Yep, we know Nikon is a camera company and not Apple. Even Apple did not come up with renting schemes. What are these Nikon execs smoking? I mean really, who the hell would rent a little picture frame? (Even if its 3D)

      • http://www.bythom.com Thom Hogan

        Renting is the typical technique used when you find out that you can’t make a high tech product affordable or in quantity (or both). Think of it like leasing a hydrogen-powered auto. The hope is that this makes everyone remember that you pioneered the technology when it becomes mainstream a decade or more down the line, but that hope is never realized ;~).

        Also, I can just see all the people shooting 3D and wondering why their images look so flat. Maybe because they’re standing a football field away from their subject? ;~) Hollywood has barely figured out how to make effective 3D (other than using it for bonus surprise impact in horror movies), thinking that Joe Coolpixuser is going to master it any time soon seems a bit of an overreach to me.

        • Anonymous

          Thom, with all due respect the design looks so crap that I would not put this ugly piece on my table, bookshelf, etc. I understand the concept of “renting” but this is not that can be successful for that.

          I think this 3D thing has room for improvement and Nikon’s picture frame will not change the game.

          • Mock Kenwell

            Nikon’s non-DSLR product styling has never been too tremendously breath-taking. This looks like a baby monitor.

            • preston

              Haha, there’s an idea for Nikon! Now you can wake up to see your baby crying in 3D!

          • http://www.bythom.com Thom Hogan

            Perhaps you misinterpreted me. I said nothing indicating that I thought Nikon was on to something or that this product would be successful. Re-read my first sentence: that’s sarcasm.

        • Rob

          Had a lecture on 3D from an experienced amateur last month. To take photos of clouds he was synching up two cameras 50 meters apart.

        • Grumpy old Ken

          Renting is the typical technique used when you find out that you can’t make a high tech product affordable or in quantity (or both).

          then were is the “rent a D3x”……

          • Anonymous

            Grumpy old Ken, you are absolutely right.

            I think some asshole Nikon execs came up with this genius idea of “let’s beat Apple and rent out ugly small 3D picture frames!” It is clear to me that Nikon has no f***n clue about what direction they should go.

            They are late in the mirrorless. They are beaten up badly in the Video department. They are late in providing 1 goddamn high res small body. Instead of making 1 goddamn 3D lens for their fricken cameras Nikon brings us ugly 3D rentable picture frame for $24 per month.

            Seriously, if Nikon made a 3D lens for the FX and DX cameras, I would have bought 1 just to play around with. But this picture frame….it is crap

            • jose

              Anonymous, the main offer from nikon with this technology is a way to convert actually 2D pictures in a 3d views . That is what i understood admin try to say, with the current camera technology adding picturetown 3d algoritm and the proper display in the camera or with the photo frame with NF300i you can see all your pictures in 3D. Looks interesting.

  • Barbie Rokwel

    Yup….what have they and what are they smoking at nikon hq……

    I suspect the only engineering nikon did was slapping the nikon label on this, most likely, Chinese product…specs, except the screen, is not much more then a tablet device. Nothing that is out of the ordinary cost wise to sell it instead of renting….

    Gadget pur sang

    • zzddrr

      The only thing is out of ordinary is that this picture frame may win the ugliest design award. Seriously, this looks like something from the 1980s. If that was the goal then they did a great job but I have to agree with Anonymous that this is indeed an ugly piece of tool.

      • st r

        You can rent it, dislike it, and give it back. You are not forced to keep it just because you bought it. That’s the trick.

  • alfredo

    3d evil camera?

  • Sam

    Yeah it does look ugly lol. But as a first foray into 3D this isn’t great for Nikon. Would have preferred a 3D camera rather than a frame conversion.

    It sounds like the Fuji picture frame that came out with their 3D camera. Anyone who has seen this is probably in the same boat. It gives an instant headache.

  • M!

    I have the original Fuji 3D camera and the frame, as well as the current W3.
    the 3D screen on their camera is fine, giving a realistic 3D hologram look. nice.
    the 3D screen on the photoframe is not as well done.
    i have not seen the nikon one.

  • RaVOLT

    Roll on the psuedo hologram. There are some researchers advancing this – a matrix of cameras (early tests used 4 x4 matrix) projected with same number of projectors through lenticular screen. This concept has been around since the 70′s. I did a paper inthe 80′s on using lenticular screens for holographic projection. If you consider most people will waver on the couch after a few ales a reduce 3D perception is all that is required rather than a true hologram. The former is very feasible with current technology.

  • Clark

    I’m sorry but who designed this.. ugly as hell.

    • http://www.voynix.com Juannacho

      It really is! I mean not offensive or anything, just UTTERLY dull. It’s like any one of a billion Taiwanese LCD monitors churned out every year.

      And 800×600? WTF?? I thought the future was all about high definition?! I doubt Nikon have a camera in their lineup that can output and image that small!

      At least all the headache-inducing glasses based TV’s are 1080p!

  • baked bananas

    My android power phone enables me to look at nikon rumors every hour on the hour waiting for the d700 replacement announcement. When I eat I eat. When I had to sleep I slept. When I had to go……… I went. When I had to do my girlfriend… I did. But my trusty phone was nearby as I wiped off with bounty or charmin. (I’m clumsy..I spill coffee a lot.)

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